Murph's Bar matches its full bar with a full kitchen that fires its food cannon until 1 a.m. every night. In addition to boasting pulled-pork and cheesesteak sandwiches, the menu also tells tales of 12-inch pizzas topped with spinach, shrimp, and ricotta cheese. Inside, eclectic furnishings such as a jewelry-wearing bear head and old beer signs surround a lengthy wooden bar bedecked in hundreds of shiny pennies. On the ceiling, a colorful mural of hunters stalking snakes, boars, buffalo, and dogs illustrates a common event throughout human history, the zoo escape.
The windows of El Camino Real are painted with elaborate mini-murals: you’ll find Mexican wrestlers, goats, dragons and gunslingers all depicted in a row. This somewhat-boisterous but never off-putting Northern Liberties spot serves what might be called Tex-Mex and barbecue comfort-food staples, like huge plates of nachos, tacos that range from chicken to bacon, beef short-rib, pulled pork sandwiches and barbecue platters. A handful of less-expected items include vegetarian wings that will satisfy even the staunchest of meat eaters. The yellow stucco walls and banquettes lined with Mexican blankets might make you want to settle in to a Southwestern reverie with one of El Camino’s blood-orange margaritas.
With stick-to-your-ribs fare and a wide beer selection – including several dozen microbrew canned beers – The Blind Pig fits the bill for a casual dinner or hearty late-night snack. Menu standouts at this Northern Liberties pub are the piled-high plate of poutine (the cheese curds come from a southeastern Pennsylvania dairy farm) and the Thanksgiving balls, which consist of turkey wrapped inside stuffing and mashed potatoes and then deep fried, served with gravy and cranberry sauce for dipping. Patrons also gravitate toward the lamb sliders and the Cubano sandwich, while copper cylinder pendant lights, distressed-stucco walls, mason jar candle holders and plenty of knickknacks and prints depicting pigs all add up to a rustic-chic atmosphere inside.
Artist Frito Bastien's three-story murals of verdant hills and flowering trees flank Llama Tooth's outdoor patio, creating a colorful visual backdrop to match the restaurant's creative takes on American comfort food. Though the menu changes often, some recent shareable nibbles have included eggplant fries, sweet-potato fries, crab mac 'n' cheese, and mushroom-truffle mac 'n' cheese. Beef and veggie burgers come topped with high-class fixings, such as tzatziki and curried jalapenos, dinner entrees, such as crab cakes with lemon-horseradish cream, pair well with selections from the roster of craft beers and the extensive cocktail menu.
The chefs at Gigi Restaurant & Lounge draw upon the culinary traditions of America, Spain and Thailand. For example, the eatery’s empanadas—traditional Spanish stuffed pastries—burst open to reveal the shredded beef, mushrooms, peppers, and cheddar of a Philly cheesesteak. Stir-fry coated with a sweet chili teriyaki glaze hails from Asia, and seafood paella crafted with shrimp, calamari, and mussels pays further tribute to the dishes of Spain. Meals unfold in an expansive al fresco dining area or an indoor dining room where the latest sports flicker across flat-screen televisions every day until 2 a.m. Along with game nights, Gigi entertains patrons with karaoke, live music, Sunday brunch, and VIP tasting events, where visitors might finally have a chance to steal a lock of hair from an alderman.
If the pub tables at The Boyler Room don't encourage socialization, then the quirky decor?including posters of movies set in Philadelphia?and pub food might. A weekly-rotating special menu features appetizers such as sauce-soaked chicken wings or shrimp in spicy cocktail dip encourage sharing. A list of sandwiches, meanwhile, features classic cheese-steaks, beef burgers that can be customized with ingredients such as bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, and pickles, and a handful of variations on grilled cheese, including one stuffed with pork roll and American cheese.